Four persons were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the stabbing of a man during violence that broke out in Karnataka’s Shivamogga city over the removal of a poster of Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar, reported ANI.
The development came a day after clashes erupted as some Muslim men allegedly attempted to replace Savarkar’s poster with a picture of 18th-century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan. Following the violence, the police banned the gathering of four or more persons in the district.
Alok Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), said that four accused persons have been identified in connection with the violence.
Two of those arrested have been identified as Nadeem and Abdul Rehman, reported PTI. Another man, Mohammed Zabi alias Charbi, was injured on Tuesday morning after he allegedly tried to attack the police team who went to detain him, officials said. Sub inspector Manjunath S Kuki shot Zabi in his leg in self defence, the police said.
Kumar said that situation was under control but advised residents not to leave their homes unnecessarily. “We’ve deployed enough police personnel,” the officer added. “We already have 15 platoons and have also asked for more.”
He also said the police will seize the properties of the accused men.
State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said that no one should take the law into their own hands at any cost, ANI reported. “What’s wrong with installing a poster of Savarkar?” he asked. “He fought for the freedom of the country.”
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that he has directed authorities to take action as per law against the persons who disturbed peace, according to PTI.
Meanwhile, Shivamogga MLA KS Eshwarappa blamed the Social Democratic Party of India, the political outfit of the Islamic organisation Popular Front of India, for the violence.
“I want to say about Muslim goondas [goons]...the Muslim leaders should give them proper teaching or else the government will take care of them,” he said. “This incident was a handiwork of an SDPI worker. His wife is a Congress councillor.”
However, Congress leader Siddaramaiah remarked that the BJP suffers from “jaundice” as it sees his party’s role in every incident. “Telling and spreading lies is the inherent character of the BJP,” he said.
The clashes took place two days after another altercation between two groups over Savarkar’s poster being removed from the gallery of freedom fighters in a mall in Shivamogga.
A case was filed under Section 341 (wrong restraint) and 504 (causing intentional insult) of the Indian Penal Code by the Shivamogga Police, according to The Indian Express. The police said that a Social Democratic Party of India activist had objected to Savarkar’s poster and demanded that those of Muslim freedom fighters be installed.
In retaliation, Bharatiya Janata Party workers had protested in Bengaluru on August 13 by tearing up a poster of Tipu Sultan put up by the Karnataka Congress at the Hudson Circle ahead of Independence Day.
The next day, the Bengaluru Police lodged a complaint under the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971, and Section 295A (outraging religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code.
Three members of a Hindutva group and a Social Democratic Party of India activist were arrested in connection with the two police complaints.